They Came to a City 1944
In 1943 J. B. Priestley wrote "They Came to a City" as a means of scrutinizing attitudes to the post war world. He believed that new better ways of living could come out of the War, that the mistakes made after the First World War did not have to be repeated.

Nine characters, all from different social backgrounds are taken out of their lives and placed outside the walls of a strange city. They have no idea how they got here, whether they're dreaming or simply dead. Soon the great doors open and they are let loose in a city free from disparity and social injustice. For some, it's a utopia; for others, a nightmare. And each must make the decision whether to stay or go.

For a film released towards the end of World War II, this is a surprisingly dour and dark work, with touches of humour and a sense of reality that may not have fit easily with an audience seeking escapism. It certainly wasn’t the normal product of Ealing Studios, but it’s still a fine example of the post-World War II British film, restored to its former glory by the BFI from the original 35mm negatives.

Director: Basil Dearden
Cast: John Clements, Googie Withers, Raymond Huntley
Country: UK
Genre: Drama, Fantasy

BD50 | 1080p AVC | 01:17:57 | 31.7 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English

• Michael Balcon NFT Lecture (audio only, 59 mins): recorded in 1969, the producer discusses the different stages of his career
• We Live in Two Worlds (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1937, 13:52): a GPO film about communications technology, narrated by J B Priestley
• Britain at Bay (Harry Watt, 1940, 7:06): a wartime propaganda film intended to boost morale, narrated by J B Priestley
• A City Reborn (1945, 22:22): a propaganda film written by Dylan Thomas highlighting plans for post-war reconstruction
• Charley in New Town (Halas & Batchelor, 1948, 8:33): a short animation on post-war new towns built to address housing shortages
• Your Very Good Health (Halas & Batchelor, 1948, 8:58): a short animation on the new National Health Service